10 examples of patriarchy (2023) (2023)

10 examples of patriarchy (2023) (1)

A patriarchal society is a society in which men are given greaterstatus socialand power than women.

According to feminist theory, the existence of patriarchy leads tosocial differencesand injustices perpetrated against women. the more outdatedfunctionalist theoryHowever, you can see it as a natural way of organizing society to achieve social stability.

Examples of patriarchy include hiring practices that discriminate against women, the exclusion of women from decision-making, institutional discrimination against women, and the relegation of women to the domestic sphere.

definition of patriarchy

In sociology, patriarchy is described as a form of social organization where cultural and institutional beliefs and values ​​are male-dominated. This leads to male-oriented decision-making and social organization.

Patriarchy literally means "rule by the fathers" (the opposite, matriarchy, means "the role of the mothers").

Contemporary sociologists consider any system that contributes to social, cultural, political, and economic superiority orhegemony of menas patriarchal.

Many earlier sociologists saw patriarchy as the natural result of biological differences or differential tendencies to meet society's need for a division of labor (Durkheim, 1933).

For example, Durkheim argues:

“Today, among educated people, women lead a completely different existence from men. It can be said that the two great functions of mental life are thus dissociated, that one sex is concerned with affective functions and the other with intellectual functions. (Durkheim, 1933)

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Sociologists like Durkheim, who adopt a functionalist perspective, tend to see patriarchy as a natural occurrence based on the objectivity of sexual and gender traits developed in humans over the course of evolution.

However, more recently, academic studies have highlighted the negative effects of patriarchy, seeing it as a problem of injustice similar to racism or classism (Hartsock 1983).

Today, feminist and intersectional researchers often investigate the consequences of patriarchy, namely gender-differentiated access to power, authority, and opportunity.

examples of patriarchy

  • Patriarchal legal system –In patriarchal societies, laws and rules are biased towards men. Legal provisions and laws are in favor of men, leaving women exposed. For example, a patriarchal legal system may require men to sign documents on behalf of their wives.
  • The gender pay gap -To date, women are often paid less than men for the same work. Women tend to do more part-time and precarious jobs, and feminized careers such as teaching and nursing tend to receive less pay for work of similar value than male-dominated industries with higher wages.
  • Uneven distribution of domestic work –In patriarchal societies, men benefit from women's unpaid work. To date, studies show that women do most of the housework and childcare in the Western world.
  • The view that men are "fit to rule":A patriarchal society tends for men to dominate in positions of prestige and power. For example, men continue to dominate the political system and are seen as culturally suited to leadership roles more naturally than women.
  • Greater power for men in the family –Many patriarchal societies encourage and expect a woman, no matter how bad the marriage, to remain married to her husband. This is based on the idea that a woman cannot survive alone.
  • Male-based inheritance rules:In the case of inheritance in patriarchal societies, male children often inherit family capital such as family property, wealth, family inheritance, etc. Likewise, we can see how the transmission of the male surname represents remnants of a patriarchal social structure.
  • Privileges for men in cultural roles –Patriarchal societies constantly distinguish between men and women and expect different behavior from them. Attributes associated with femininity are underestimated and attributes associated with masculinity are privileged.
  • Patriarchal Gender Socialization –Patriarchal families encourage their children to adopt masculine traits from an early age. Behaviors that are considered feminine can be subtly discouraged, while toys and clothing will be gendered from the start.
  • Expected obedience of women to husbands -In a strictly patriarchal family, all the wishes and orders of the man of the house must be strictly followed. Humility, respect and obedience must be directed towards man at all times. Women and children are expected to follow what the patriarch says or does.
  • Domestic Violence to Silence Women –A patriarchal society may allow or allow domestic violence. Culturally, patriarchy has perpetuated the idea that women should be meek and submissive, which can lead to physical and psychological abuse in the domestic sphere.

case studies

1. Paid work

In patriarchal societies, men continue to dominate the highest paid jobs and women tend to be paid less for the same work.

According to Sylvia Walby, a British sociologist, paid employment remains a key framework for disadvantaged women (Walby, 1989).

Feminized professions that add high value to culture and the economy, such as education and nursing, remain underpaid compared to male-dominated industries.

The expectation that male jobs would be better paid than female jobs stemmed from the idea that men should be the “breadwinners”, while women's work was a complement to family income.

Today in the West, women are seen as equal participants in the workforce. However, the remnants of patriarchy are still visible in the continued underpayment of feminised industries.

In addition, men still benefit from women's unpaid housework. Studies consistently find that women do most of the housework and take care of children to a greater extent.

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2. Legal system

The legal system within highly patriarchal societies tends to be male biased. For example, until about 100-150 years ago, men were given greater legal rights, such as property and the right to vote.

Today, few Western societies are governed by clearly patriarchal laws that give men property rights over wives and children (Folbre, 2021).

However, this does not mean that patriarchy is extinct. Male-dominated parliaments continue to champion laws designed to control women's access to contraception and control women's choice of how, when and with whom to start a family.

3. Marriage and Divorce

In highly patriarchal societies, a woman, no matter how bad the marriage, is encouraged and expected to remain married to her husband.

One way to sustain this is through the cultural shaming of divorced women.cultural normscontinue to frame the divorced and widowed as “used goods”.

Furthermore, there are persistent cultural notions that women cannot survive on their own.

The feminist critique of marriage holds that it is an inherently patriarchal institution. For example, the expectation that a woman will change her last name to that of a man highlights the role of marriage in maintaining patriarchy throughout history (Josephson, 2005).

Some feminists even see the decline in the importance of marriage as a social institution as a good thing because it undermines patriarchal views of women and their roles in society.

4. Gender socialization

Social messages in the media, cultural practices and family life can foster the masculine ideal in boys from an early age. Boys are often subtly led to idealize and imitate masculine traits.

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For example, in some cultures, boys are subtly encouraged to assume leadership roles, while girls are subtly encouraged to see themselves in the role of mother, family cook, etc. This can lead boys to believe in their supposed superiority over girls even from childhood.

Cultural theorists often argue that it is this process of gender socialization that helps maintain and transmit patriarchy from one generation to the next.

Related sociological terms

  • gender roles– Gender roles are socially determined social roles assigned to people of one sex or gender. They may have expectations about how men and women should think, talk, dress and interact with each other.
  • Feminism– Feminism is a general term for a variety of theories that embrace a belief in a project to achieve women's empowerment. In its simplest form, it argues that there should be social, economic, cultural and political equality for all genders.
  • gender socialization– Gender socialization is the socialization process through which children learn about gender. They will learn attitudes, behaviors and social expectations associated with the gender assigned at birth. This can come from parents, siblings, peers, and the media, among other sources.
  • Masculinityyfemininity–Masculinity and femininity refer to attributes or behaviors typically associated with being male or female.
  • Misogyny– The term misogyny means hatred, aversion or prejudice against women.


Patriarchy is a social system whereby men have more power than women.

The causes of patriarchy have been debated by sociologists for a long time. Emile Durkheim, for example, believes that patriarchy is natural as a consequence of the biological differences between women and men. However, feminists believe that patriarchy is an injustice in the social system that must be corrected.

Examples of patriarchy and its effects include: underpayment of women, institutional discrimination against women, and exclusion of women from positions of power.

reference list

Sim Durkheim. (1933)Division of work, The Free Press of Glencoe, Illinois. (Original work published in 1893)

Hartsock, N. (1983)Sex and Power: Towards a Feminist Historical Materialism. Longman.

Walby, S. (1989).Theorizing the patriarchy. Sociologia, 23(2), 213-234.

Folbre, N. (2021).The rise and fall of patriarchal systems: an intersectional political economy. Verse books.

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Josephson, J. (2005).Citizenship, same-sex marriage, and feminist critiques of marriage. Perspectives of politics, 3(2), 269-284. doi:10.1017/S1537592705050206

Chris Drew (PhD)

Site web |+ publications

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doctor Chris Drew is the founder of Helpful Teacher. He holds a doctorate in education and has published over 20 articles in academic journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.


What are examples of patriarchy? ›

An example of male domination in a patriarchal society would be a man who holds the position of CEO of a company. He goes to work every day, controlling all aspects of his job, then goes home.

What are the 6 structures of patriarchy? ›

Walby discusses what she calls the six "structures" of patriarchy-paid work, housework, culture, sexuality, violence, and the state. In terms of their interrela- tion, Walby argues that each of these structures impact upon one another but are also relatively autonomous.

What is patriarchy short answer? ›

matriarchy, hypothetical social system in which the mother or a female elder has absolute authority over the family group; by extension, one or more women (as in a council) exert a similar level of authority over the community as a whole.

What is patriarchy system class 10? ›

Patriarchal society by definition means a society controlled by men in which they use their power to their own advantage. An example of a patriarchy is when the family name comes from the man in the family. The dominance of men in social or cultural systems.

What are the two types of patriarchy? ›

Private and public patriarchies

Finally, Walby argues that there are two distinctive forms of patriarchy that exist in the social world: private patriarchy and public patriarchy.

What is patriarchy today? ›

Patriarchy is defined by Oxford Languages as “a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it.” Due to most modern societies being patriarchal, women are restricted access to the power and privilege that is attributed to men.

What is the main cause of patriarchy? ›

They acquired resources to defend, and power shifted to the physically stronger males. Fathers, sons, uncles and grandfathers began living near each other, property was passed down the male line, and female autonomy was eroded. As a result, the argument goes, patriarchy emerged.

What are the roles of patriarchy? ›

Patriarchy is a socially-constructed system where males have primary power. It affects many aspects of life, from political leadership, business management, religious institutions, economic systems and property ownership, right down to the family home where men are considered to be the head of the household.

What are the three aspects of patriarchy? ›

Patriarchy finds it roots in the core principles of male dominance, centrism, and control. These values are rooted deeply and firmly within western society.

What is patriarchy in society? ›

Patriarchy is a system of relationships, beliefs, and values embedded in political, social, and economic systems that structure gender inequality between men and women. Attributes seen as “feminine” or pertaining to women are undervalued, while attributes regarded as “masculine” or pertaining to men are privileged.

What is patriarchy essay? ›

Patriarchy could be defined as a social system that upholds the idea that men are superior to women. Male dominance over women's social, political and economic and life decision making is the center to a patriarchal society. Patriarchy has a long and elaborative history.

What is patriarchy in gender equality? ›

Patriarchy is about the social relations of power between men and women, women and women, and men and men.

What are the rules of patriarchy? ›

patriarchy, hypothetical social system in which the father or a male elder has absolute authority over the family group; by extension, one or more men (as in a council) exert absolute authority over the community as a whole.

When did patriarchy start? ›

This puts the origin of patriarchy in the 8000-3000 BC period, when early agriculture yielded a surplus and the beginnings of militarisation helped males to seize control of the surplus and the main producers of labour power, women. 33-35). male domination itself. regard to the historical period of state societies.

Is patriarchy a type of government? ›

Patriarchy—the system of governance in which men hold majority power while women are largely barred from holding it—depends on women's exclusion from markets, and the story of women's liberation is in many ways a story about the ongoing fight for economic liberty.

Who is the leader of patriarchy? ›

Historically, the term patriarchy has been used to refer to autocratic rule by the male head of a family; however, since the late 20th century it has also been used to refer to social systems in which power is primarily held by adult men.

Who believes in patriarchy? ›

Historically, the principle of patriarchy has been central to the social, legal, political, and economic organization of many ancient civilizations like Hebrew, Greek, Roman, Indian, and Chinese cultures (Weitz, 2003). The nature of control and subjugation of women varies from one patriarchal society to the other.

How does patriarchy affect men? ›

Patriarchy harms men by disconnecting them from their emotions, and frames seeking support as weakness. It's an endless pressure for men to conform to a narrow prescription of masculinity, to compete with one another, and to prove their manhood by surrendering their individuality and denying their humanity.

What is the impact of patriarchy on society? ›

Patriarchy encourages male leadership, male domination and male power. It is a system in which women are subject to economic dependence, violence, domestication and the peripherals of decision-making. It imposes structures that categorise some types of work as “men's work” and some as “women's work” (Reardon, 1996).

Why patriarchy is so important? ›

Patriarchy is obligated to protect and care for the woman's mental, physical, spiritual and financial wellbeing, That is failing to do so will lead to genuine prolonged harm in mind and body of the female. So patriarchy is simply an evolutionary protective social role and social construct.

What is women's role in patriarchal society? ›

What is a woman's role in a patriarchal society? A woman's role in a patriarchal society is to be seen and not heard; to duly maintain the position as 'stay-at-home' mother and bear the load of childcare, household chores and everything that comes with it.

Why are men also victims of patriarchy? ›

Male victims mostly fear coming out about their violation mainly because they would be mocked, called weak and even accused of being a homosexual who enjoyed the act. The society starts questioning their so-called masculinity because being a man, they couldn't save themselves from such shameful acts.

What is destroy the patriarchy? ›

But what is the meaning of “Smash The Patriarchy”? Smash The Patriarchy (or Down With The Patriarchy) refers to challenging the dominant social, political, cultural, and economic thoughts that value the idea of hegemonic, toxic masculinity over everything.

Who has given six structures of patriarchy? ›

Wallby's six structures of patriarchy are paid work, household production, culture, sexuality, violence and the state. To Sylvia Walby, the concept of Patriarchy must remain central to a feminist understanding of society.

What is patriarchal family give example? ›

patriarchy, hypothetical social system in which the father or a male elder has absolute authority over the family group; by extension, one or more men (as in a council) exert absolute authority over the community as a whole.


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